The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most famous natural attractions, and it’s the biggest draw in the state of Arizona. It’s also one of the most popular vacation spots in the US for people who love nature.
The southern rim of the Grand Canyon is the most popular tourist destination, but the northern rim is also accessible. The northern rim is closed in winter, but the southern and western rims are open year-round and easily accessible from many tourist locations such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, and Williams.
The following attractions are located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with the exception of the Skywalk, which is located at the West Rim.
The South Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park is the main access point for the southern part of the park. The only other entrance is the East Entrance, but this is less convenient than the South Entrance.
The first stop on your tour of the Grand Canyon is at the South Entrance Visitor Center, where you’re given two options for exploring the park by road. The first is Hermit Road, which heads west past the small resort area known as the Village to numerous overlooks. This road is open to private vehicles from December 1 to the end of February, but outside of these dates you must use the park shuttle buses.
If you’re in a car, there are two drives in the park: Desert View Drive and the Rim Trail. Both offer excellent views of the canyon, but they’re different. The Desert View Drive goes east from the Visitor Center and ends up at the Desert View Watchtower after 22 miles. It’s a fantastic drive and well worth it. The Rim Trail is a shorter drive that goes north along the canyon rim and back to the visitor center. It’s also worth doing.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, visited by millions of people every year. One of the most interesting ways to experience it is via helicopter, with tours departing from Las Vegas or the South Rim.
When planning your visit, you should decide in advance how to spend your time. You can’t see everything, so it’s okay to prioritize. It’s also okay to change your mind and do something unexpected.
There are three kinds of accommodations in the park: hotels, resorts, and cabins. The first is operated by a national park concessioner. The second is located just outside the South Entrance. The third is a small town with chain hotels and other businesses.
Grand Canyon South Rim Attractions
1. Visitor Center & Mather Point Overlook
If you are visiting the park from Williams, the best way to start is by heading straight to the visitor center. A few displays there show a quick overview of what the park is all about and a little about its history. The staff is always ready to answer questions and provide information on hiking trails and attractions.
The visitor center is a short walk from several overlooks, where you can marvel at the canyon. One of the most popular overlooks is Mather Point Overlook, which is a peninsula jutting out into the Grand Canyon. With a view from the top of the canyon, you will see spectacular views in all directions.
2. Rim Trail
The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. The Rim Trail is a long paved path that runs along the canyon, for 13 miles. It begins at the South Kaibab Trailhead and ends at Hermit’s Rest, near the west entrance of the park.
The Milford Track is a very scenic path. It has amazing views and is very easy to walk. This track is very scenic, with beautiful views from the entire distance of the track.
You can walk from Mather Point, or from any of the scenic stops along Hermit Road. If you have limited time, a good option is a walk from Mather Point to Yavapai Point and the Geology Museum.
3. Geological Museum
The Grand Canyon Geological Museum is one of the most interesting and informative places to visit in the Grand Canyon National Park. It was chosen by a group of well-known geologists in the 1920s because the views from here were the most representative of the geology of the canyon.
The Museum of Natural History displays its education through interactive exhibits. The exhibits are very detailed, explaining how the rock layers were formed into their current state. There are huge diagrams that explain how each layer was formed into its current state.
The windows of the lodge look out over the trails and the canyon beyond. You can see a great view of the route to Plateau Point, an offshoot of the Bright Angel Trail, and a side path leading down to the Colorado River.
4. Hermit Road Drive
Hermit Road is a seven-mile scenic route along the canyon rim. It offers numerous viewpoints, and is generally the most popular route in the park.
If you visit Zion National Park between December 1st and February 28th of any given year, you can drive the road yourself. However, if you plan to visit between March 1st and November 30th, you must use the park’s shuttle buses. It is important to note that the buses run every 10 to 15 minutes on this road, which stops at nine different overlooks.
Along the route, there are many overlooks with incredible views of the Grand Canyon. Some people say that the best views are from Maricopa Point, Hopi Point, The Abyss, and Pima Point. If you are in a hurry, you may want to skip Hermit’s Rest.
5. Bright Angel Hiking Trail
The most popular hike in the park is the Bright Angel Hike. People who ride the shuttle down to Hermit’s Rest will begin their hike from the Village. This is a long hike, but many people choose to walk a short distance to get a feel for it. The complete route, round-trip to Bright Angel Campground, is 19 miles and takes two days.
Many hikers choose Indian Garden Campground, a nine-mile round-trip hike with more than 3,000 feet in elevation change and an even more strenuous hike. Keep in mind that this includes a serious hike lasting six to nine hours.
A short hike might be enough to give you a taste of what the canyon has to offer. The Upper Tunnel is only 0.4 miles long and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Hiking the lower tunnel takes between one and two hours, but it hugs the cliffs a little more closely. It’s a good idea to test your fear of heights before venturing out on this trail.
Some sections of the trail are in the shade, which could make them slippery. This is especially true when it’s warm at the top of the mountain and cold at the bottom.
6. Desert View Drive
Although Hermit Road is the most popular drive in the Grand Canyon, it’s not necessarily the best; 22-mile Desert View Drive is arguably more beautiful and equally, if not more, impressive. The main reason that it is better is that you can see to the Colorado River from many of the stops on this drive, whereas you can’t on the other one.
This is a picture of white water rapids. The view in the distance is long and wide.
This route has fewer stops, but each is worth your attention. Moran Point is a highlight, with a beautiful view over the Colorado River from the far east side of the parking area. The rock walls across the canyon have many colors.
Lipan Point has the most wonderful views of the Colorado River, but it’s also a noteworthy location for birders. This is the most direct route across the canyon for migrating birds. They use this more narrow section of the canyon on their flight path.
South Rim viewpoints are a must-see for first-time visitors. The Grandview Point overlook provides an excellent view, but it’s difficult to get to. The Grandview Hiking Trail is steep and slippery in the spring, so it’s only recommended for serious hikers. The trail conditions are difficult, so even experienced hikers may find it challenging.
The last stop on this drive is Desert View, with the watchtower standing tall on the cliff edge. If you have a long lens, you can get a good photo of it right from the car. The first stop is Navajo Point, where the watchtower is visible off to the right, and can also make for a good photo if you have a long lens.
Also found on Desert View Drive is a small museum and a trail that leads to the remains of a ruin. The museum provides information on the people who lived here and also offers a close-up view of the dwellings.
7. Desert View Watchtower
If you start your trip to the Grand Canyon from the east, you will pass the Desert View entrance and stop at the Desert View Service Station. This is a full-service stop with an Indian Watchtower. The Watchtower is a famous landmark.
Although it looks like an ancient, crumbling stone ruin, the 70-foot tower in this national park was actually built in 1932. One of four structures designed by Mary Jane Colter for this park, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The design of the structure is based on an ancient Native American watchtower. The tower is made of stone, but it looks like it’s made of wood. It’s built around a concrete and steel frame, but the stonework gives it a Native American feel that blends in with the natural surroundings.
The interior walls of the building are covered with ancient artwork to give it a historical feel.
The second level of the mall has an outdoor observation deck that provides a stunning view of the mountains. The top floor has an enclosed observation deck, which is even more impressive because of its 360-degree view.
8. Lookout Studio and the Kolb Gallery
The Village is a place that contains two forms of architecture, one new and one old. A lookout studio that looks like a ruin is nestled into the canyon’s cliffside. It offers tourists souvenirs and trinkets. However, it also has two decks that provide views of the Grand Canyon.
A short walk West of here is Kolb Gallery. It’s in a dark brown, wooden building that was built in 1905 and belonged to the Kolb brothers. The brothers were early adventurers who explored the area around the Grand Canyon.
This is a building that used to serve as a home for two famous artists. Now, it’s an art gallery and store. The exhibit changes often and features information on the life of the Kolbs and the Bright Angel Trail.
9. Wildlife Viewing
While most tourists to the Grand Canyon don’t come to see wildlife, you’re likely to see some animals if you drive along the Rim Trail. Elk are often spotted between Mather Point and Desert View on the South Rim, and they’re definitely worth seeing.
While you are on the road, do not be surprised to see mountain lions on the side of the road. Also on the road, you will find bighorn sheep; a smelly, striped animal called a hog-nosed skunk; and mule deer. Other animals in the park include ringtail cats, and Kaibab squirrels.
10. IMAX Movie at the National Geographic Visitor Center
In Tusayan, Arizona, just near the South Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, is one of the oldest IMAX Theaters in existence. Visitors from all over the world have been going there for years to watch a movie.
In addition to seeing the Grand Canyon, there is a movie you can watch at the theater. It’s a 34-minute film about the Grand Canyon. After watching the film, visitors can get information about the park and grab a snack in the on-site café.
11. Nearby: Little Colorado River Overlook
Leaving Grand Canyon National Park via the east side of the South Rim, through the Desert View entrance, the first stop is a scenic overlook that offers an incredible view over the Little Colorado River. Navajo artisans sell handmade jewelry at this stop.
If you park your car, there is a trail. The trail leads to two picnic tables and a lookout area. From the lookout area, you can see the Little Colorado River far below.
Grand Canyon West Rim Attractions
12. Skywalk & Eagle Point
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is a popular destination for those who want to see a glass bridge jutting out over the canyon. It is four hours from the South Rim. This horseshoe-shape walkway extends 70 feet over the canyon, giving people an incredible view of the canyon.
Dining and entertainment opportunities abound at this casino. Perhaps you will enjoy a delicious meal at the Sky View Restaurant and marvel at the view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. You can also take in some Native American dancing or visit the Native American Village.
Grand Canyon Tours
13. Helicopter Flight over the Grand Canyon
A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon is an excellent way to fully appreciate its beauty. The tour will take you far away from the rim and into the depths of the canyon where you can truly see it from above.
The Grand Canyon is the most treasured landmark in America. Its beauty is unmatched. The South Entrance of the Grand Canyon is where Tusayan Airport is located. Dragon Corridor, which is the widest and deepest section of the Grand Canyon, offers some of America’s best aerial views of the landmark.
14. Grand Canyon Railway Adventure from Sedona
Luxury and travel in the desert can be combined with sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. The best way to do this is to take a train ride. It will take you through the desert and then into the Grand Canyon, where you can see many beautiful sights.
This tour takes you from Sedona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Pickup from your hotel is included. The train ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon allows you to see the beautiful Arizona high country. After arriving at the South Rim, you have free time to explore and a guided tour of the rim.
One of the easiest ways to see the Grand Canyon is by booking a flight. You will have no hassle with parking or driving. If you have additional time, you can visit Sedona or Williams.
15. Grand Canyon White Water Rafting Trip from Las Vegas
If you’re looking for a white water rafting trip in Las Vegas, we’ve found the perfect one for you. This 15-hour trip picks you up from your hotel in Vegas, drives you to the helicopter, and flies you over the Grand Canyon. Then, you’ll spend a full day on the river rafting and return to Vegas in time for dinner with family and friends.
16. South Rim Mule Rides
If you want to visit the Grand Canyon but don’t have enough time, mule rides are available from the South Rim. The mules carry passengers down Bright Angel Trail on a 5.5-hour trip to Phantom Ranch and then bring them back up the next day.